Montreat College

In the 1830’s a Presbyterian minister from Connecticut came to Montreat, North Carolina, establishing a religious center which later became a college. It continues today. Entering the town of Montreat this stone entry is passed through.

Then the College…

There is much natural beauty on this campus. Here is a sampling..

A retreat center building and overlook.

The Nature Center was closed, however, there are signs for trails. I particularly liked the signs for children. Need to start them hiking young..

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And check out this playground, nice spot for both parents and children.

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Drive through the college grounds..

Past this church the mountain inclines and hiking trails are available for those with moderate skills.

I think I am feeling the need for a retreat. Don’t you?

Black Mountain, North Carolina

Black Mountain is an art community with a long history. In the 1930’s a liberal arts college was founded here. The mountains were an ideal setting for the cultivation of creativity. Many progressive artists and thinkers were produced from this school. Refugees escaping Hitler’s plight also were in attendance. Sadly, the college closed in 1957 but the arts remain in this community.

Let’s start our tour at the art gallery. Here’s what greets you at the door, what a great idea for planter decorations..

Then inside even more creativity..

The Gallery also has classes for young and old along with performing arts camps for kids. What fun that would be.. Ballet, pottery, drawing and painting as well as Dungeon and Dragons were some of the class offerings for Spring 2021. Check out their web site for more info at

Walking through the town don’t miss the murals painted on building facades.

Artist At Work..
Outside the German Restaurant
Lovely Horses

And who knew… Roberta Flack was born in Black Mountain. A fitting tribute to a woman with an angelic voice.

Then some fun stores..

Another fun shop … here you can get books or a children’s gift for the child who has everything…

Black Mountain had rail service at one time. There are placards giving much information with a train displayed from the era. And the depot remains with another interesting shop.

An artist’s depiction of the actual depot.
Some of the treasures found in the depot

And let’s not forget the restaurants.. There were Thai, Cuban, Italian, German, to name a few. Since Black Mountain is a short 30 mile drive from my home base I plan to return weekly to visit a different restaurant each week. Prices were reasonable and all had a pleasant ambience.

But what I especially liked about the town was the planning which went into this venture. They even planned for comfort stations..

My you never know who you’ll meet on the street at Black Mountain..

What a fun place for an afternoon visit!

Next stop.. Montreat College

The Shakers of Pleasant Hill

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Mother Ann Lee, Foundress,

Courtesy Pinterest

The Shakers came to America from England to escape religious persecution in the late 1700’s. Their community grew into 8 states with nearly 5,000 members. They were pacifists and in worship sang and danced. Their dance often caused shaking, thus the name. Men and women lived apart and were celibate.

Shaker Dancing

Their communal life style promoted a longer life with Shakers living till 75 years of age while others during this time period died at 45.

Each community house had a separate entrance for men and women, note the 2 doors.

In 1806, the Shaker community branched out to Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, from their first community in New Lebanon, New York. The community grew to almost 500 members within 15 years on 4,000 acres. Pleasant Hill had 5 settlements of approximately 100 members each. Each settlement housed 100 members, however, when crises rose all settlements worked in unison to maintain other settlements needs.

Shakers were entrepreneurial and innovative. They developed medicines, seeds, furniture, brooms, architectural masterpieces, and a wide variety of farming innovations. Here at the Village all is on display for viewing.

The famous Shaker broom. Note the pegs the brooms hang from a design created to maintain order.
Shaker ice chest
Shaker harvesting equipment
Washing and Drying Area
Tobacco Drying in one of the Shaker barns. Shakers were noted for barn construction.
Post Office and Trustee’s Office Shaker women were leaders involved in the Community business.

This living museum was beyond amazing with so much to see and learn about Shaker life. Rooms are available on the property in the Shaker buildings. Amenities and Shaker furniture reproductions are 21st century in these rooms.

At the Trustee’s Office there is a restaurant with reasonably price food which is delicious. Walking and hiking paths are available within the Village. During the summer season there is a boat ride on the river nearby. Children especially loved this venue, however, it is for children of all ages.

This visit was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable visits I have ever taken. The Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill is an undiscovered jewel to partake. A must see and do.

A Shaker Sunrise

Keeneland Raceway

Keeneland Raceway has been Lexington’s horse racing track since 1936. Did a short visit after the horse farm tour and thought my followers would enjoy the pictures.

The Paddock Area

The Wagering Area

The Track

The Barns

Those that make it happen..

This jockey won the 2020 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup riding on Harvey’s Lil Goil

Another fascinating day in Lexington! On to Pleasant Hill…

Lexington: Horse Farm Tour

Took an amazing horse farm tour with Expedia while visiting Lexington. Here I learned much of the equine industry from a seasoned guide who has worked in the industry for over 40 years!

Bad picture, great man..

Our first stop was Katierich Farms, the farm of Larry and Katherine Doyle. This farm is 356 acres with a monthly cost of $300,000. to manage. The Doyle’s are New Yorker’s and live in Sleepy Hollow, NY, visiting several weeks of the year.

One of the barns..

The Track..

Meet Miss Mary Apples born 4/14/2020. She is a yearling.

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Some basic facts…

One year old horses are known as yearlings. When these lovely creatures are born they stay with their moms for 120 days. Once they leave their mom they gain 10-12 pounds per week. They begin racing after they are two years old.

A stallion is a guy horse and a mare is a girl horse. A baby horse till 1 year of age is a foal.

Every thoroughbred horse birth date is recorded as January 1st.

Horses stay outside overnight once the frost has past to acclimate to weather and for exercise.

In the fields they enjoy playing with each other and this provides socialization for the foals.

Pregnancy lasts 11 months, then 15-30 days later the horse is inseminated again. Mares are inseminated with the stallion mounting them, no artificial insemination. Injections are given to ensure the pregnancy is maintained.

Farms make their monies via stud fees which can be over $1 million dollars.

Let’s look at a few more of these beauties at the Katierich Farms.


The next farm visited was The Don Alberto Farm. This farm was purchased for $35 million and has over 2,000 acres. Mr. Alberto is from South America and owns a chain of stores similar to Walmart’s. The monthly cost for managing the farm is $600,000. On his property Seattle Slew is buried who was the 1977 Triple Crown winner.

The farm is a recent purchase and is currently being renovated. No horses are housed here, but aren’t the grounds beautiful?.

It was at this farm our guide told an interesting and funny story. There was a stallion who was taking 1 1/2 hours to stud, while this usually takes a relatively short period of time. When the owner came by to check on the horse and better understand the problem the stallion immediately did the deed. Apparently, the owner’s perfume did the trick. There is something to be said for pheromones.


The last farm visited while not as impressive is the home of two Kentucky Derby winners. As our guide stated horses have no preference for stable.

Also on this farm was a swimming pool for horses. It is a $25 per swim usually lasting 15 minutes.

Some horses on the farm..


A few final questions with response…

The Jockey Payment

All this horse information led me to question how jockeys are paid. Was told these riders get 10% of the race purse upon winning and agents get 25% of the jockey payment.

Why is Kentucky the horse capitol of the world?

Kentucky is loaded with limestone, even in the drinking water. Limestone is good for bones and this enhances bone strength making these horses better candidates for racing.

What an enjoyable morning visit..

A final shot..

Mary Todd Lincoln Home

This gracious home was where Mary Todd lived with her family from13 to 21 years of age. The family owned the home from 1832 to 1849. Mary’s father, Robert Smith Todd was a prominent Lexington merchant and businessman.

Robert Smith Todd

Mary was educated and versed in politics. Visiting her sister in Illinois she was introduced to Abraham Lincoln. Once married they visited her family’s Lexington home. The home is a historically correct and has some family memorabilia.

Let’s take a look.

The Parlor
The Dining Room
Slave Kitchen

The Todd’s had slaves. When Mr. Todd died Mary’s stepmother continued to have and keep slaves as did her grandmother, however the grandmother did release her slaves later in life.

Mary’s Bedroom
Mary’s Glassware

The tour of the home is self guided with the docents offering much information on Mary’s life and times. They mentioned how Mary is often portrayed inaccurately. On the left is how she is usually painted, however, the picture on the right is her actual skin, hair and eye coloring.

A fascinating tour to learn more of the woman behind the great man.

The Arboretum: State Botanical Garden of Kentucky

Another amazing find with a wrong turn.. What would life be without wrong turns?

This Arboretum overlooks the University and has much to offer Lexington residents.

Let’s start with the Children’s Garden.

And of course among the playground equipment..


Paths to walk,

for humans and man’s best friend..

Places for lovers,

Signs to protect..

Beautiful bushes and trees..

What a beautiful spot..

Lexington Impressions

In Lexington found a modern clean City with construction surging. What a pleasant surprise. And, as I alluded to earlier, everything is horses.

From licenses plates,

To building murals,

Even streets were named for horses with Man O’War Boulevard a main thoroughfare, as well as, Sir Barton Way, and Citation Boulevard to name three. The equine industry looms in Lexington.

Homes were majestic, both large…


with an interesting modern version amongst the older grand dames.

Then a historical home where Jefferson Davis, the president of the confederacy, lived from 1821 to 1824 while attending Transylvania University.

The City is also a university town with major hospitals and industries in the area. Found this area when a wrong turn was made. It is a lively area with much restaurant and bar traffic.

And where would the bars be without a nearby distillery??

In closing.. a repurposed building with shops and more restaurants.

Looks like a fun area!

Kentucky Journey..

The Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, has always been high on my bucket list of places to see. Being 5 hours driving time from the Village, knew this was my moment. Growing up down the street from the first Shaker community in formerly Watervliet, NY, I have studied, visited almost all communities, and been intrigued with this sect. If you are as well recommend Ken Burns documentary, it is done to perfection.

The trek from home base North Carolina through the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains was beyond words, however, with the treacherous mountain roads, few pull offs, and narrow shoulders no pictures could be taken without risking life or limb. Just have to take my word for it and experience it yourself.

First stop, the Kentucky Visitor Center near Lexington.

This was my first inkling of what was to come… Everything in Kentucky is horses….

While the Visitor Center was unmanned at this time, there were plenty of clean bathrooms, and some free literature available in the Center.

Nice touch if you have a free moment to rock and relax..

Outside the Center were covered picnic areas, places to walk pets, and ample parking. Was shocked to find so many families traveling during Pandemic time. As a health care professional grateful to see all masked and distancing.

Next… Lexington impressions, the Mary Todd Lincoln childhood home, and The Arboretum State Botanical Garden of Kentucky..

Read on and Stay tuned.